Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Did Anyone Vote For This? Charters Get More Per Pupil Casino Money than Districts

I've written about this before -- the idea of whether the Ohio Constitution permits charter and joint vocational schools to receive any casino money, especially given the casino provision's specific mention of public school "districts". My concerns remain.

(By the way, whenever anyone criticizes me or anyone else for comparing charter schools with school districts, I give you the interpretation that charters are to be considered school districts for the purposes of casino revenue distribution.)

However, I wonder if more people will take the argument seriously now that charters get more per pupil funding from casinos than local public school districts. Last year was the first time that happened.

According to Ohio Department of Taxation data, charter school kids received $51.33, on average, from casino revenue. Local school district children received $50.89.

Now, the difference isn't that great. However, it is there.

I know for a fact that not a single person who voted for the casino issue voted to send more per pupil money to the notorious Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) than all but 2 Ohio school districts (Piqua and Bradford). Or that more than 1 in 10 charters now receive more per pupil funding from casino revenue than ANY Ohio school district. Or that only 89 percent of state casino money meant for "public school districts" under the Ohio Constitution actually go to public school districts.

As lawmakers return to handle what Gov. John Kasich has called a looming recession here, I would think one way they could address at least a little bit of the school funding issue is to re-examine whether charter schools should be receiving more per pupil funding from Ohio casinos than the school districts whose good reputations helped get the measure passed.

And this is one more area of concern with Betsy DeVos being nominated as the U.S. Secretary of Education. Her steadfast belief that charters and vouchers are better options than local public schools would seem to signal that she's perfectly fine with charters getting more per pupil money from Ohio casinos than local districts. Not sure many middle class Ohioans who voted for her boss would agree.


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